'Twilight' Countdown: Peter Facinelli says he's on Team Edward
I sat down with Peter Facinelli at the tail end of Saturday's "Twilight" smorgasbord. Needless to say, he was a lot more relaxed than his co-stars, who were being hounded from all sides.
The actor, who plays the magnanimous Dr. Carlisle, revealed why "New Moon" bothered him, why it's important for him to interact with "Twilight" fans, and, yes, what he thinks of the new "90210," starring his wife, Jennie Garth.
Have you had any crazy fan experience yet?
I’ve had really nice experiences. A group of TwilightMOMs came to the set and were so sweet, always bringing presents. They brought this big basket of food and cookies -- they are the best fans to have. They’re feeding me, I’m happy!
How are you all handling the pressure?
I feel for Robert. He didn’t sign up for this knowing what it would become. The fan base has grown even since when we filmed it. There were underground fans when we started. I remember we’d all go to their web sites and they all said, ‘All these actors are wrong for the roles. Facinelli doesn’t have blonde hair -- what are they thinking?’
For Rob, he just signed up thinking it’d be a cool little movie. All of a sudden he’s like the James Dean of today. That’s a lot put on a guy’s shoulders, but hopefully he’ll be OK. He’s kind of nerve racked. He doesn’t like to leave his apartment a lot. But I think it’ll be good. This will bring good things to him.
Talk about how you got cast in the movie.
My agent called me up and asked if I wanted to do a vampire movie. I was thinking blood and guts, something in the horror genre, so I said no. Then they said that Catherine Hardwicke was directing and that it was based on a really good novel. So I read the book and I loved it. I loved the love story set in this world of vampires, but more than that, I liked that it's about vampires exploring humanity rather than just being a vampire.
So I went and auditioned for Catherine and thought I did great -- but I didn’t get it. They wanted an older actor. Carlisle is young in the book, but visually I was told they wanted his character to look a lot older than the kids. But that fell through and they came back to me.
Which of the books is your favorite?
I’m still in the middle of ‘Breaking Dawn.’ [My wife] Jennie stole it from me. She kept lugging it everywhere. I finally told her to just finish it and then give it back. So I ended up moving on to ‘The Host,’ which I completely enjoyed and loved.
I like ‘Eclipse’ a lot. It felt like it got into a lot of different storylines and there was a lot of action. The second one, ‘New Moon,’ was hard for me because I’m so Team Edward that it kind of bothered me that she was off with Jacob. I felt cheated on, which was weird. (Laughs)
Was it weird playing a dad to these teenage characters? You aren’t that much older than the cast. (He’s 34.)
I’m a good decade older! No, I think because I’m a little older and I have a lot more experience there’s a maturity level I could bring. Carlisle looks young, but there’s a certain maturity that he has that separates him from the kids. I felt like I brought that father presence to the table. I have three kids of my own!
Have they read the books?
I have an 11-year-old and she’s read the first book. And she’s seen the movie. She loves it. I asked her if she was saying that because she was biased and she said, ‘No, dad, I loved it.’ I asked her, ‘Was it pretty truthful to the book?’ and she said yeah. So I’m relieved.
Is she Team Edward like her dad?
Hmmm, she better be! I’m a Cullen through and through!
You’re scheduled to go to a “Twilight” fan party this week at Borders in Westwood. Is it important for you to interact with the fans?
Yeah, I love promoting things that I believe in. I love being part of things that I’m passionate about. When they asked me to be a part of it, I was happy to do it. I’m a fan of the books myself so to interact with other fans is always fun for me. I don’t look at that as work. I enjoy it.
Did Stephenie Meyer give you any extra background on Carlisle going into production?
We talked about him a little bit, but she’s really so detailed in her writing that I felt like everything I needed to know was in the books. I didn’t have a ton of questions. We talked a little bit about his accent.
A lot of fans, while we were filming, asked me if I was doing an English accent. I never thought of doing that because he is English, but a long time ago, over 300 years ago. I thought we would have adapted to his surroundings. I wound up doing a more standard American accent. (Laughs) Stephenie agreed with that, which I was happy about because I talked to her about it after we started filming.
What was working with Catherine like?
She’s such a free spirit. She has no filter. She kind of gets you out of nowhere. Like she’d go, ‘You know that thing you’re doing there? Yeah, that. That’s not good.’ And I’d go, ‘Really?’ And she’s say, ‘Yeah. It’s weird. And it’s not working. At all.’ ” The diplomacy department is not her finest. (Laughs) But you love that about her, that she feels free to say, ‘That sucked. Try something else.’ ” She wouldn’t say I ‘sucked’ but she’d go, ‘That’s too big, too over the top. Try something subtler,’ which is really her way of saying that you sucked.
But the passion she brings? It’s contagious. She’s like an Energizer bunny all day long. I never saw her sit down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat. She just keeps on going and she wants everyone to be as passionate as she is. It’s great.
I have to ask, what do you think of the new ‘90210’?
I’ve watched the pilot and I enjoyed it, but to be honest, I haven’t seen much after the pilot. Not because I don’t support my wife but because, you know, it’s not my demographic. It’s about high schoolers. One of the story lines I saw was about the soccer team retaliating against another high school. For me, that’s not really poignant anymore. I enjoyed seeing my wife back on it, I’m proud of her, but I don’t watch a lot of TV as it is. The only show I watch is “Dexter” because it’s available on Showtime on-demand.
-- Denise Martin
Photo: Summit Entertainment